These past few days, I've been staying up waiting for the return of Don Imus to late night TeeVee. (Here in L.A. he comes on at 3 am). This also compelled me to watch, for the first time ever, the Fox Business channel ( I hate Fox like Jews hate Nazis. Worse even.) But no matter. I fondly remember watching Imus on MSNBC in the weeks leading up to the '04 election. He frequently noted that he was first "major media figure" to endorse John Kerry over W. and he articulated a deep distrust for Cheney. Imus was, back then, candid, funny and provocative and often had interesting guests (as well as laughable assholes like Donald Trump and Bo Dietl). I felt a connection.
It all came crashing down for the I-Man in August 2007 when he offhandedly refered to a female African-American student-athlete from Rutgers as a "nappy-headed ho." After a predictable uproar, he apologized left and rightbut was still ousted from his radio/TV gig. Now he's back.
When I heard his New York based morning show was going to be aired live on the Fox Business, I was eager to see my old friend. I watched a few hours over the course of the first two nights. I am sorry to report that Imus seemed timid, frail and weak. (In March he announced that he is has Stage 2 prostate cancer.) His barbs seemed contrived and his praise for all things Fox struck me as pandering. He seemed eager to find his old spark, yet not piss anyone off. To me, someone who used to like and respect Imus, it was all very, very sad. Not unlike watching Willie Mays playing for the Mets at the end of his career. (Long-time Mets fans know exactly what I mean.)
What's worse is the ever-present stink of Fox News. Every 10 to 15 minutes an attractive young women in a cocktail dress reads miscellaneous business headlines while Imus can be seen in the background chatting with his minion's. They have her standing on the set, so the camera can swing around to check out her butt as they go to commercial. Often these "updates" are old and trivial (i.e. a major firm releasing its annual report), other times its pure Fox (small business owners "bracing" for "Obama's huge tax hike.") The whole idea, of course, is to hype Fox Biz news and give the struggling cable network some legitimacy. Also, Imus is proving himself to be a total whore (or "ho" as he would say). He is embracing an anti-Obama, right wing position that fits neatly with the horseshit that pours fourth from Fox each and every day. (One Monday he dismissively said Obama is "another Jimmy Carter.") This is at odds with the previous incarnation of Imus--the one I used to stay up late to watch. Now it saddens me so much I may just go to bed. Good night, Imus. I'd prefer to remember you as you were.